paid focus groups

Paid Focus Groups: Make Extra Money Sharing Your Opinion

Do you want to get paid for chatting with others about the products that you use?

If you’re looking to make some extra cash, paid focus groups are a good way to supplement your income.

I first found out about these groups by accident several years ago. There was a market research company in the city where I lived, and they put the call out on social media, looking for people to participate in a study talking about batteries (seriously).

The pay was $600 for several hours work. Sign me up!

Unfortunately, I didn’t end up qualifying for that study, but once I was on the mailing list of this market research company I started regularly receiving phone calls to participate in other studies.

While these studies can pay extremely well for just an hour or two of your time, for some reason they haven’t really caught on with most people. This makes them a real hidden gem when it comes to making extra money.

If you’re looking for easy ways to make some extra cash from time to time, I’m convinced that paid focus groups are the way to go.

The pay is excellent – usually ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars per hour – and it feels a lot less like work than many other ways of earning.

Thankfully, with the rise in online video chat conferencing, you don’t even need to live in a metropolitan area to qualify for one of these market research studies.

Interested in learning more? Read on to discover all about paid focus groups and where you can sign up to potentially participate.

What is a Focus Group?

A focus group is a targeted group of people who shares their opinions in order to help brands and businesses better serve their customers. Within the group, people discuss their experiences with certain products or services.

Focus groups can be either in person or online. Most sessions last between 1 -2 hours, and participants are compensated for their time.

When are Focus Groups Used?

Focus groups are used as market research by brands and companies who want to test out products or ideas. These groups essentially act as in-depth surveys.

Many times, consumers reveal far more about their habits and trends when they are having a conversation instead of just filling out questions on a form. These conversations can be very revealing and informative to research companies.

How Does an In-Person Focus Group Work

market research group

If you’re invited to participate in an in-person focus group, expect to have to meet at a designated location. In most cases, you’ll be meeting with a small group of other participants. You could be asked to do things like test out a product, give your opinions on things, or provide feedback.

In other instances, you may just meet in a group and have a round-table discussion. You may also be interviewed one-on-one.

Typically, a moderator or researcher will oversee this type of focus group, taking notes along the way. You may be asked to participate in just one session, or the market research team may ask you to come back for a variety of sessions. This info – as well as how long each session will be – will be disclosed to you when you sign up.

How Do I Find Paid Focus Groups Near Me?

Finding paid focus groups near you all depends on where you live. Because market research companies are constantly looking for people to test out or try products in person, you do have a higher likelihood of finding paid focus groups in suburban or metropolitan areas.

The best way to find these types of focus groups is to sign up with as many of the companies below as you can. That way you are more likely to be contacted when a study arrives.

If you don’t live in a metropolitan area, don’t let that stop you from signing up. Even though you may not have many opportunities for in-person groups, there are more and more companies who are taking to the Internet to conduct video chats.

Are Paid Focus Groups Legitimate?

Paid focus groups are definitely legitimate, and they are an easy and fun way to make some extra money.

If you are worried that you might be dealing with a scam, do some research on the particular focus group company before you start working with them. As always, NEVER pay to participate in a focus group. Remember that you are the one doing the work here, and you should be the one earning the income!

How Does an Online Focus Group Work?

An online focus group meets much the same way as an in-person group, but instead of meeting in a physical location, you’ll meet over video conference. Thanks to the widespread shift to conducting online meetings, online focus groups are becoming far more normalized.

Many market research companies are making the shift to online focus groups because it’s easier for them, too. With an online platform, they’re able to target a much broader range of potential candidates from all over the country or the world. Plus, the move online is often far more cost-effective, as there are no travel or meal expenses that come with meeting in-person.

How Much do Focus Groups Pay?

There is no set rate for participating in a focus group, but they generally pay very well per hour. Some focus groups pay as much as $300 or more for participation.

In addition to pay, you may be compensated for travel or additional expenses you incur in order to take part in the group. If the focus group lasts several hours, you may even be treated to a meal or coffee and snacks.

How Do I Get Selected to Participate in a Paid Focus Group?

If you want to be selected, your best bet is to sign up with as many focus groups as you can. This increases the chances that you’ll qualify for a study.

When you fill out the intake form, it’s important to be as thorough and as honest as possible. While each company is a little different, they will all ask you to fill out an intake form in order to match you with qualifying studies. Some of the questions you can expect to answer include:

  • Your marital status
  • Your education
  • How many children you have
  • Where you live
  • Your employment status
  • Household income
  • Ethnicity
  • Your computer and internet access

Because market research companies are always looking for different types of people to provide feedback, there is no set thing you can do in order to guarantee that you’ll be selected to participate. You never know what they’ll be looking for.

Once you register and fill out these basic questions, you’ll then be added to the general pool of applicants. From there, you may be notified from time to time that you potentially qualify for a focus group. You’ll then have to answer further, more detailed questions to help researchers determine whether or not you are a good match for that particular study.

What are the Best Paid Focus Groups?

woman working on computer focus groups

Are you ready to start making some extra cash? For the best chance at making money, sign up with at least several of these paid focus groups.

1. User Interviews

Rating: 4.4 stars

Pay Rate: $50 to $100 per hour, with the potential for more

I first signed up with User Interviews several years ago, and since then I regularly get emails inviting me to apply for a focus group study.

Creating an account is quick and easy. Once you register, you provide some basic information. If you want to increase your likelihood at getting picked for a study, you can link your Linkedin and Facebook profiles, so that they can learn more about you

Once you’re approved, you can browse all the various types of research studies, including focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and phone or online interviews. Apply for any that interest you, and you’ll receive an email back if you’re selected to participate.

Most studies pay between $50 to $100 per hour, with some paying even more.

2. Respondent

Rating: 4.7 stars

Pay rate: Anywhere from $100 to $700 per hour, depending on your background

If you’re a business professional looking to leverage your background with paid market research studies, Respondent is the place for you. This site has a variety of paid focus groups aimed at professionals across all types of careers. If you aren’t in business, it’s also worth signing up – the platform also offers focus group studies aimed at non-professionals as well.

3. PingPong

Rating: 4.5 stars

PingPong is a market research company that focuses on improving the user experience for different apps and websites. As a participant, you’ll participate in one-on-one video chat interviews where you test websites and offer your feedback.

Earn between 10 and 100 euros per hour for every research session you complete.

While this company is based in Europe and advertises their payments in terms of euros, they are open to people all over the world. I had no problems signing up as an American.

Qualifying payments are made via PayPal.

4. Recruit and Field

Rating: 4.9 stars

Recruit and Field has been conducting market research since 1977. Working with some of the nation’s top brands, the company recruits participants for its focus groups, phone interviews, online surveys, and in-home product testing.

They recruit the average consumer (which is just about everyone!), but they also have targeted studies for business professionals and medical professionals.

5. Mindswarms

Rating: 3.8 stars

Mindswarms is a totally different idea that seems pretty cool – as long as you don’t mind being on camera. That’s because you’ll be asked to record yourself giving feedback on .

In fact, just setting up your profile requires you to talk about yourself rather than fill out another long survey or questionnaire about your likes and dislikes. Mindswarms instead wants you to talk about one of your passions and why it is special for you.

One thing I will say is that the platform doesn’t seem very intuitive. I found it difficult to get the information I needed without just proceeding and hitting record. I did eventually find a FAQ page that says that participants will be asked 1-7 questions per study, which they’ll need to answer via a one-minute recording. You can receive $10-$50 per study and payments are made within 24 hours via PayPal.

If you  don’t mind recording yourself talking, you might find this to be a fun way to earn some extra cash.

6. Survey Junkie

Rating: 4.5 stars

Survey Junkie is one of the best survey focus groups. This organization doesn’t conduct in-person focus groups but instead elicits consumer feedback through online surveys.

Most surveys only pay a few dollars, but from time to time there are surveys available that are much higher paying. It’s worth it to sign up with this company to keep an eye out when potential good-paying surveys do arrive.

7. Focus Group by Schlesinger

Rating: 4.3 stars

Previously known as Focus Pointe Global, Focus Group by Schlesinger works with many of the nation’s major brands to offer market research studies in person, online, and on the phone.

While studies are open to anyone, they are especially interested in hearing from healthcare professionals.

8. Money4Talk

Money4Talk is a national market research firm. They offer paid focus groups in the New York City area, and online focus groups and telephone surveys nationwide.

If you qualify for a paid focus group, an online focus group, or a survey, Money4Talk will contact you by phone. Over the phone call, you’ll be given more specifics as well as the expected compensation for your participation.

9. American Consumer Opinion

American Consumer Opinion is a survey site that boasts over six million users. While the payout on most surveys is low, they do offer $50 compensation from time to time.

As a participant, you’ll have the opportunity to evaluate new products and test new advertising. This site is open to anyone, even those living outside the United States.

10. Survey Squad

Survey Squad is powered by Focus Forward. It offers paid focus groups throughout the country. Signing up was pretty straightforward, but they do have an extensive profile section for prospective participants to fill out. You don’t have to fill out each profile, but the more information you give them the better they’ll be able to match you with a survey.

Alongside the profile section, they have a screenshot of their active Twitter feed. Just by looking at this, I could see that there were a lot of high-paying focus groups available. For instance, they were offering $100 for a holiday shopping focus group, $150 for a focus group open only to Missouri residents, and $135 for people who are investors. This sampling of a range of locations and focus group types had me wanting to sign up for more.   

11. Fieldwork

Fieldwork is a nationwide market research company with offices located in 11 major cities throughout the company. Most of their paid focus groups take place within one of these offices.

If you don’t live near one of their focus group facilities, you can register for their nationwide database which makes you eligible for other research studies, including those via phone or online.

Other Ways to Find Paid Focus Groups

If you have no luck finding paid focus groups through the previous avenues, often time a simple Google search can help. Searching “paid focus groups near me” or “paid focus groups in [your town] will often bring up results.

Apex Focus Group

Apex Focus Group is a website that allows you to search for paid focus groups near you. Using this site is a great way to find groups in your local area.

Because this Apex company works closely with a number of the top research firms in the country, they offer a seamless and easy way to find legitimate paid focus group opportunities. In addition to focus groups, users can browse clinical research trials and paid survey panels, for a number of ways to make extra money.

Final Thoughts on Paid Focus Groups

Paid focus group opportunities don’t come around often enough to be a consistent way to make money, but they do offer a great chance for to make some extra cash occasionally.

If you’re looking for other ways to earn extra cash, consider some of these opportunities:

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